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Minnesota National Guard
The American Dream: Making Each Generation Better For The Next

Minnesota National Guard Army Maj Eduardo Suarez, Chief of Current Operations for the Minnesota National Guard and Golden Valley, Minn resident, has served for 25 years in the military Although his dad was in the Air Force, the military wasn't always the path he had pictured for himself 

"I was 16 and hanging with a rough group of kids," recalled Suarez, "My mother said, 'Get him involved in shooting' "

His father started target shooting with him His father, Albert Suarez, had competed as a collegiate athlete on the Air Force Marksmanship team

"By age 18, I was living in Colorado Springs, training at the Olympic Training Center," said Suarez 

What started as a fun hobby led to Suarez being selected as an alternate for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea and competing internationally for 12 years 

"That was my ticket into the Army," said Suarez "A lot of the guys and gals on the Olympic marksmanship teams were also military  They were from the Air Force, Marine Corps and Army teams, which all had their own marksmanship programs"

He began to be approached by military marksmanship teams to compete with them, but he didn't start to consider it until after returning from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Seoul, Korea When he returned he enlisted and shipped out in January 1989 His first assignment was at a US Army Marksmanship unit at Ft Benning, Ga In 1993, Suarez commissioned as an officer in the Army National Guard Since then he has served in various leadership roles and has been deployed once to Bosnia and twice to Iraq

He attributes his success to a line of hard-workers who believed in making each generation better for the next His grandfather, an immigrant from Mexico, came to the US to work hard and provide a better life for his family, believing you get what you achieve in life based on your labor, merits and what you put into your work 

"My father was a living example of that," said Suarez "He served five years in the Air Force and earned his four-year degree in three years while working nights at a cannery That story really instilled in a strong work ethic for me"

Suarez recently saw how his journey could make an impact on others within the Latino community 

"During a conversation with a gentleman from Guatemala, I happened to be in uniform and it dawned on me how other Latinos looked at me as a role model when I wear the uniform"

Since that experience, Suarez is taking steps to further embrace his Latino culture, becoming more involved and active within the community

"My grandparent's journey is probably not more unique than any other immigrant who comes here, making something of themselves and taking advantage of what America has to offer The key is what the next generation does with it," said Suarez

Jan 29, 2014
Story by Army Sgt Dajon Ferrell
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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